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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 27, 2015 9:00pm-11:01pm EDT

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boomers are arriving and while many of us are relatively healthy -- notwithstanding my trifocals -- at the outset and arguably less expensive for the near term, that changes. the good news is we are living longer. the bad news is we're more expensive as we get old unless of course, you i love the 95 then you become less expensive or you die. in 2011 the average per capita medicare spending tripled between the ages of 66 and 96. this is not entirely attributable to end-of-life care. i mean, we hear a great deal of what that contributes, but that is, in fact, not the only factor. in many cases, they are individuals who are chronically ill and the management of these patients is enormously important. and, of course there are the shear numbers of those who are going to be eligible. the first baby boomers began to arrive in 2011 when approximately 40 million americans were over the age of
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65. by 2030 that number will have grown by 30 million. and by 2050, that number will have grown by 40 million. so as you can see, the percentage of the old old as you -- in the orange and yellow boxes in this chart grows very quickly. . again, if you think back to the chart in terms of the amount of per capita spending that increases as people age you see we are looking at a growing number of individuals who, in fact, will be the most expensive portion of the medicare program. at the same time we have fewer young people coming in and we have fewer people that are paying payroll taxes to essentially support the program. and, of course, among those who are the most costly and juliet touched on this issue, are those who are dual ebl jiblligible. but rising health care costs is also an issue for the
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beneficiary. as juliet pointed out, as a population they're not all living in palm beach. they are relatively low income population. health status and chronic conditions are also significant drivers of health care costs and out-of-pocket spending which becomes an issue. and rises with the number of conditions that, in fact, you have. you'll recall some of the gaps in coverage that juliet mentioned, most significant is long-term care which is an issue we have successfully avoided dealing with for a number of years. but those are major contributors in terms of out-of-pocket costs that the elderly are facing as well as simply the program itself. now of note, i would say, women are disproportionately represented in this group with the highest out-of-pocket costs. and they also tend to live longer. women tend to be caregivers for their spouses for many years or for their parents.
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they tend to live longer they tend to have more conditions and tend to confront these out-of-pocket costs and often, in fact, you see they become substantial at ages 75 to 84 and 85 and beyond. and then as i noted and as juliette pointed out they're a unique population within the medicare population that also concern us as we begin to think about the beneficiary challenges that we are confronting. the duals, as they are referred to, who are individuals who are both low income and eligible for both medicare and medicaid are disproportionately counted among the medicare and medicaid high spenders. and they are a unique challenge in terms of managing this population. they are poorer. they generally have more medical needs than other beneficiaries. they are more likely to be frail with multiple chronic conditions and have functional and cognitive impairments. they're approximately nine million of those individuals and of particular concern, not only to the federal government as you
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look at the spending for the medicare program and planning going forward, they're also a huge issue for the states who are also financing and they are as this reflects also a very high cost population for the states. so as we look at beneficiary issues and we look at the medicare program going forward, looking at this unique population, one of the provisions in the aca essentially begins to try and get the state medicaid programs and the federal medicare program to begin to coordinate with one another, which has not been the case in the past. so that people often fell through the cracks. their services weren't coordinated. the payment systems weren't coordinated and, again, many of them require things that fallout side of the traditional health care package. their require transportation services and often nutrition services and a variety of things that, as we manage this population and look at the beneficiary challenges going forward, this will be among the most unique population that the two programs have to contend with. and then finally, as part of the
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discussion with respect to providers, given the aging of the population, the increase in the number of beneficiaryiesbeneficiaries, increasing attention is now being paid to work force, which is something we've talked about in the past but have not made a great deal of progress on. overall, access to physicians in other health care professions is adequate, med pac tells us, but there are clear differences in their access to specialty care versus primary care with primary care being much more difficult to identify and align with in terms of beneficiaries. this is in part a function and a result of the bias in medicare payment historically towards specialty services and the financing models, the history of silos that we pay people to do things has essentially discouraged the development of primary care and the availability of primary care providers. there's no question that our
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system of physicians and nurses is among the best in the world but, unfortunately, they are not fully aligned yet in the education system in the changes in the delivery system that raul mentioned. it's quality measure evidence-based care, multidisciplinary team work, a care coordination across essentially sites of care so that we begin to think about people in the context of the full continuum of care, not simply in silos. hospital-based and hospital-based hospitalal alists or the nursing home patient that we begin to think about and pay for as has been suggested looking across those systems and the manpower work force population has to begin to think in those terms as well. medicare is the single-largest payer for medical education. in 2009 we spent somewhere -- approximately $10 billion a year on medical education. we pay for less with respect to nursing education. but these are levers that we begin to look at in terms of how
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we incentivize the choice of specialty, the movement into primary care and all these payment models, acos and others that think about team-based care which is something that our medical training programs and nursing training and other providers need to begin to think about going forward and begin to think about it in school not simply when they go into practice. so that we begin to get exposed. certainly when i was in school we practiced and were trained in largely a silo-based system rather than an interdisciplinary way. so that's one of the issues we'll be looking at. again, it's an important part of how we think about providers going forward. and then quickly going forward in the issues that have been raised, first there are the incremental kinds of changes. we've spent a fair amount of time this morning or this afternoon talking about payment reform, aimed at reducing costs and incentivizing changes in practice and specialty mix. the house passed sgr bill is still pending in the senate.
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again, it's a clear movement in that direction and that is towards payment reform and movement away from fee for service and a link to quality. in the context of delivery system reform, again, the activities that were outlined by raul in terms of push toward organized systems of care, the focus on quality on coordination, on team-based care are all steps in this direction and, again, this unique population of high-cost, high-risk in the duals is going to be a particular focus of attention for people going forward. eligibility. these are all, again, incremental kinds of changes based on the program and benefit restructuring. again, the confusing structure of the medicare program that juliet outlined a-d suggestions about combining a and b so they look much more like traditional health insurance. it also helps to begin to organize and make sense of the cost-sharing and potentially provide some limits on out-of-pocket or catastrophic
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costs incurred by people. the reform in medigap, you began to see that in the sgr bill that's to remove the first dollar coverage even for those under medicare so they become more sensitive about the providers they choose. the eligibility issue is one that continues to come up and will no doubt come up again. you know, 65 isn't what it was in '65. people are living longer, they're staying in the work force longer, we're largely healthier and so the question is, is that the right age? it was a big issue for years because of people that fell through the cracks would they have private insurance available to them that was affordable? that now has been less of an issue, the ability to purchase coverage through a network or through essentially an exchange rather than the individual market. but, again, this question of who ought to be eligible and at what point will no doubt come up. then there's of course, the final note which is the this attempt to sort of rethink the entirety of the medicare program
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and move away from a guaranty benefit to essentially a guaranty contribution and that is whether we ought to get out of the business, essentially the program as we know it today and begin to essentially allow people to take the money we give them on a per capita basis and purchase coverage. and it's really a step beyond medicare advantage as we know it today but mr. ryan and others have talked about premium support. so all of these things are things i think will be short-term priorities for us as well as long term. >> terrific, thank you, sheila. let me remind you, you now have a chance to enter into this conversation. there are microphones at the far corners of the room. there are green cards that you can write a question on. if you do go to the microphone, i'd ask you to keep the question brief and to identify yourself so that we can get to as many questions as we can and i should remind you this is a primer,
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there is no question that is too simple to ask because that's what we're here for. yes, go right ahead. >> hi amy grace from the senate. i'm just wondering what you think about the government part "d" non-interference clause. i'm hearing a lot about that and whether you think the government will actually save costs if they were able to interfere with those negotiations. thank you. >> and you might -- whoever wants to take a crack at it explain what it is we're talking about. >> the part "d" non-interference clause basically references the fact that as part of the medicare modernization act of 2003 which created the part "d" drug benefit there's a provision that prohibits the government from interfering or doing any negotiating with pharmaceutical companies over prescription drug prices. there has been quite a fair amount of back and forth about
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this provision and the question about whether the government could get a better deal for medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in part "d" plans than the plans themselves. i think the congressional budget office has looked into this. i think med pac has look good this and i think the prevailing view is that the plans are doing a pretty decent job of negotiating rebates and there's some question about whether the government could do a better job than the plans are doing. for most prescription drugs. one of -- i think the sticking points about this issue though, is drugs that are unique, that have no alternative, no generic substitute, no therapeutic equivalent. is there a way for the government to intervene or perhaps try to come up with some alternative way of arranging pricing for these drugs where there is no equivalent, where there's basically the
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pharmaceutical company able to kind of set whatever price it wants. and i think there are various discussions, perhaps not official discussions but there have been ideas proposed about ways to get a better deal for beneficiaries on drugs where there is no ability for the companies themselves to negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies. so i think that's the issue where there could be a potential for medicare to play an important role. >> do you want to go ahead over there? >> sure, i'm ken, i work with northern virginia family service, it's a nonprofit. so i have a question for raul. quality and cost reduction seems to be pretty easily achieved in the first couple years which i assume takes a lot of sloppiness in the system beforehand. are the same initiatives being thought about for the aca and the open programs as opposed to just medicare?
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>> that's a great point. a couple things. we learn a lot from -- in general the approach that the innovation center has taken is to set the table for providers and give them incentives to innovate in care delivery and within any of our programs, whether it's pioneer acos or comprehensive primary care initiative or bundle payments providers are using lots of different strategies and what we see that different providers are able to find different pockets of savings in different parts of their systems. so i don't think that there is a single universal theme that we see in terms of how -- where there are savings to be had. i think your -- i interpret your question as a question about multipayer alignment. and i think that's absolutely critical success factor for
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payment and delivery system reform and it's a huge area of focus for us. so all or nearly all cmmi models attempt to engage other payers because if you think about it, from a business standpoint, if you're a provider, you cannot succeed with one foot in fee for service and one foot in an aco or an alternative payment model because the fundamental operational strategy is different. if you're trying to keep patients out of the hospital for one population and then on the other side you're trying to maximize your hospital utilization, you can't manage two different goals. so as i said we've tried a number of different strategies to engage other payers and so in some of our models like the comprehensive primary care initiative, we actually went around the country in seven different markets and actively convened about 30 payers to do the model with us. so cpci actually we engaged
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these 30 payers. in other models, we've relied on the participants to go out and get the other risk-based contracts themselves. i think the other huge effort that you're seeing that was just announced this past week is we are now convening nationally payers providers, and patient groups in a national health care payer learning and action network, payment learning and action network where our hope is that we will learn from one another about what the different factors for success are in alternative payment models and that the uptake of these models will spread and other payers will either match or exceed the pretty ambitious goals that we've set for the medicare program. >> i have one other question as well. >> and i just wanted to add one cautionary note and that is the transparency of information. one of the things we hear about, even within a single system is
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the inability to essentially easily access information across that system. and one of the challenges, i think, is the extent this is certainly true when you talk about multiple payers. but even in the context of a single system whether it's a kaiser system or any other integrated system, the ability to convene in one place all the information for both the outpatient services inpatient services and track and share that information. i mean, the learning that occurs by the ability to sort of report back in what's occurring across the system. that's one of the things people struggle with is that ability because the systems don't essentially necessarily match up. >> my other question is regarding medicare eligibility because i encounter a lot of adults who have now brought their elderly parents into the country who are now new citizens and new residents but will never have the 40 quarters that they need. so what is the thought process for those elderly adults who are
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now living in our country but don't have the eligibility requirements for medicare? >> to be perfectly frank it's not really been an area of attention. you correctly note that the 40 quarter issue is one that's fundamental to the eligibility program and the focus has been on those who would otherwise quality and the question about the time at which they enter into the system. but not, frankly, a lot of attention to people who essentially don't qualify. you could imagine the unique set of circumstances and trish will remind me if i'm incorrect, but there were a unique set of circumstances early on with religious groups, for example, who couldn't have 40 quarters. there was an accommodation for state-based employees. but we -- so it's an issue that's not just unique to people coming into the country. the people who've chosen, for example, to work at home. women who've chose on the work at home and didn't have 40 quarters of traditional work behind them and contributed into the system.
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so it's an issue that's broader than just that narrow population but it's not one that's been given a great deal of attention to the best of my knowledge. [ inaudible ] i don't know that it's come up, to be perfectly frank, at least not in the recent discussions but it's a good point. it would apply not only in the context of new citizens but also to people who don't traditionally transition into the system. >> i had a question about incarceration. >> will you identify yourself? >> i'm emma, i'm from the senate side. so as we've seen that there are the aging prison population is increasing especially as we've seen issues of mandatory minimums and such like that that were keeping people in prisons longer and their care is becoming more challenging especially as you develop chronic illnesses. so i was wondering how does medicare sort of navigate what happens to that specific
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population so that people who do qualify while they are in incarceration that they cost may be redistributed to other health care providers? i know it's complicated with state and federal so any insight would be great. >> i can be easily corrected by anyone here. as a general matter it's considered outside of the medicare program as it is outside of the medicaid program in terms of the prison system and the health care funding that essentially occurs in the context of both the federal and state prison systems. to the best of my knowledge bob may recall, i don't think we cross over in terms of medicare coverage. i don't think they carry their benefits to prison. >> i don't believe so. and one other topic that comes up in this eligibility item are those who have paid into medicare but are living abroad don't get the medicare coverage either. and that becomes an issue for some as well. but the coverage is not portable except for emergency situations. >> that's a good point.
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>> next question? >> my name is javier, i'm with the office of senator johnny isaacson of georgia. my question to you is with regards to these problems that we're having with the sgr coming up this year do you feel the problem is more so rooted in the sgr formula that's inherent to the program or is it more so congress's inability to allow the cuts to go into place so now they have compounded to 21% or 22% as we're currently facing. >> yes. [ laughter ] >> to both then? >> i mean, one, bob will come in on this. the fundamental structure of the -- i mean, we were confronting at the time in the part b program, you know, tremendous escalation in the cost of the program and this was thought to be a way to bring that under control. it was quickly realized it was not going to be a system that worked and i think there's been -- there's all the
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cost-related issues. you've heard a lot of discussion about you know it's a bargain basement price at the moment of $140 billion. so those issues have driven up but it's a combination of both. one, it wasn't the right answer to the problem and secondly there was a great deal of reluctance to allow 15%, 20% reductions in physician payments. but bob you may have a -- >> no, i agree with that. i would emphasize a couple things. one, it was some fanciful thinking that there would be a collective incentive that the medical profession somehow would come together and figure out how collectively they would live within this sort of target amount. but if you think about it for more than two seconds you realize that incentive on each individual physician is to actually do more services if their fees are being cut rather than to participate in the collective. and at that time we were really big on the notion of the evidence-based clinical practice
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guidelines in that everybody could follow them and that would keep volume down. there is a role for clinical practice guidelines, but it got overemphasized at the time. i do want to get one fact out, which is that in the last decade, physician services were rising very rapidly. imaging services sort of doubled in a five-year period. that's all flat now. in addition to sort of overall health care spending being pretty flat, and medicare spending being pretty flat, even physician services now. and so the sgr seemed to -- it became a political problem and a budget problem. it's never been a mechanism for actually restraining spending by physicians. and so correctly, congress is looking at ways of trying to get the incentive down through the individual physician level. i personally have some
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difficulties believing that what's passing is actually going to be for the good. we don't have in my view the ability to measure at the individual physician level their quality or their resource conservation, how good they are with efficiency. i think we can do that at a large group level. so congress is about to pass legislation that i don't think is gong to be achieved what it's very -- its very nice goals are, this ability to measure at the individual physician level. >> great, thank you. >> i should just point out, we have five or six minutes left before the witching hour of 1:30 and i would ask you to pull out those evaluation forms and fill them out as you go through these last few questions and looks like we have someone at a microphone. >> good afternoon, i'm matthew from the center for medicare advocacy. i have a question concerning the
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tuition assistance that's given to primary care physicians that practice care in urban areas and rural areas. there's been a little bit of doubt concerning the sustainability of helping these individuals. >> i'm sorry. stand a little closer to the microphone. >> i'm a little too tall sorry about that. there's been a little doubt about the sustainability of funding these education grants. i read this recently. what do you all think about that? look into your crystal ball. what do you see about the sustainment of those tuition grants? >> there clearly is a desire to incentivize the decision that increases the number of primary care providers. this is true both with respect to physicians as well as with respect to nurse practitioners. there was money in the aca for an incentive program to create an opportunity for an increase in the number of nurse practitioners as well.
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you know, the question is always going to be, you know, are the incentives resulting in what you hope to achieve? the national health service corps has a long history. the concern is that people tend to go into those areas and then they tend to leave. is that the right answer? although it has recently gotten additional funds, so i think there's additional money in this last piece of legislation for both community health centers as well as for the corps. it's clearly something we have done. medicare has a strange sort of history of not wanting to interfere in those issues through the gme program. although the reality is, the way we pay has a direct influence on choices that are made in terms of specialties. but i would put odds on continued efforts to increase the number of primary care providers. certainly you have people, particularly in the senate and i'm sure it's true in the house as well, i know senate far better, who have a commitment to maintaining rural health care and the resources that are necessarily in rural health communities and a real question
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about what does that mean. does it mean having a hospital -- i spent a lot of time in kansas, as you might imagine. and at one point 50,% of the hospitals in the state of kansas had fewer than 50 beds and when the hospitals shut down, the doc left, the pharmacy left, the nursing home left. and so lots of questions about what do we need to support rural america? what is the right answer to that problem? so i think there are enough people who care deeply about that that there will be continued attempts to figure out what the right solution is in terms of mix of services and the availability of care. >> i want to follow up. this is my chance to make my one quibble with the cms framework for categorizing payments to providers on this issue of how do we get more primary care, which i think we've all said and sheila in particular is in need. category one says there's no link to value. now, my view would be that there's a fee schedule and there's a fee schedule.
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we have a fee schedule that is tilted far too much towards procedures and tests and research that we've actually done at the urban institute pretty well documents that medicare compensation to specialists exceeds that to primary care by about two and a half to 3-1 for every hour worked, at least for some specialties like radiology and cardiology. that's not sort of immutable. we are making choices to have a fee schedule that is tilted in that direction. we could have a fee schedule and some of us have suggested it that recognizes many more primary care activities and, in fact, cms is moving in that direction by creating new codes for chronic -- complex chronic care management transition care. we could also change the relative values so that the time spent with a physician was given
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much more of payment than just interpreting a test and to me if we did that we would have a different mix of services, we would have different signals to what specialty to go into and we'd be improving value. and i think in some ways we'd be improving value more than by just adding a couple of quality measure which is gets you to category two. so the point i would make is that while i absolutely agree with all the work that cmmi is doing to come up with good models of alternative payments, how we actually -- what i called a minister the legacy payment models are real important to producing more or less value. and even in some of these legacy payment models that i put up on some of the slides, we have efficiency incentives. when a home health agency is paid for a 60-day episode of
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care rather than for each visit they make they have an ability to use telemedicine, to use different personnel to do a number of things that proesumably can improve efficiency. so this vision between category one and the rest strikes me as a little arbitrary and we then in the policy world don't pay enough attention to that category one. there are people at cms working really hard to improve that and the providers who -- the stakeholders in those systems are very involved with that. but it somehow hasn't risen to sort of the same level of policy attention and so that's -- it's a quibble. >> well we have time for one more question. >> i'm james calder with the advanced medical technology association. sir, my question is this balancing of cost with innovation as we're going forward especially with durable medical equipment so items such
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as stair climbing wheelchairs that might allow a patient to stay in their house longer or a continuous glucose monitor that's paid for in europe but not here. all of these innovations that might have up front costs that are higher but long-term savings. how do we balance that with high quality care and affordable cost? >> reasonable question. >> it is a reasonable question. and one of the issues and anybody else can obviously chime in. from time to time over the years there have been several proposals that have come forward and cbo is a very skeptical organization and they look at these ideas of expanding coverage and they are very doubtful about cost offset, right? savings. one of the opportunities that is out there with more people in capitated plans is there's nothing to stop medicare advantage plans from testing whether some of the innovations that you're talking about would improve care and lower cost and provide the care people need in
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the most appropriate setting. so that might be a real learning opportunity within medicare advantage and a capitated framework. that could be translated into traditional medicare and provide the ed that's needed by the congressional budget office. >> that was a good answer. that was a good way to end the program, as a matter of fact. this has been a terrific session and i want to thank our panelists. i would ask you to help me in thanking our panelists. [ applause ] we didn't answer every question that everybody had, but that's why we gave you the materials and the contacts where you can seek out more information. next wednesday, we're going to do a primer on costs. if you can make it, we'd love to have you. otherwise thanks to our colleagues at the kaiser family foundation and thank you for
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coming. we'll continue our mutual education next week. barkbara bush joins young people to discuss issues that motivate their generation. they explore ways so-called millennials are engaging in their communities. here's a portion of that event with joelle guam bell of the roosevelt institute. >> i think there's a misunderstanding of our generation and it's because as our generation comes into positions of power to influence business and government and policy we're being disruptive, right? we're looking at new ways to do things and not nestly trusting or in favor of establishment or institutions. there's a recent poll showing our generation trusts political and religious institutions far less than generations before us. i think that can be
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disconcerting to folks. that mean there is has to be a change in status quo in order to be able to engage young people. think about this past election. there's a lot of folks talking about how millennials didn't turn out to vote but in reality we turned out at the same level as we did in 2010. the problem was that people didn't know how to reach us right? they weren't -- they were using old campaign tactics to reach a new generation that was engaging differently. i don't check my mailbox for vote by mail ballots. i don't do that. but if you were to contact me via text message maybe i'll actually see it. i think that that's a way that we can be engaging millennials in a different way that is just not happening as much as it should be. >> that new america discussion with young adults concerning the issues that motivate their generation is tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. a house subcommittee on transportation security held a
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hearing wednesday on the future of the tsa's pre-check program which allows expedited screening at airports for pre-approved passengers. c-span's cameras caught the portion of the hearing that was open to the public. this is about an hour and a half. >> the committee on homeland -- the committee on secure -- excuse me. the committee on homeland security transportation security will come to order. the subcommittee is meeting to examine tsa's pre-check program. i recognize myself for an opening statement. i would like to thank our witnesses for their participation in this hearing. we know your time is valuable and we appreciate you taking the time to be here today to discuss the future of tsa's pre-check program.
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at the outset i would like to express my sincerest concern for the victims attacked last friday night at louis armstrong new orleans international airport. transportation security officers have the important responsibility of securing our nation's aviation systems. and once again we have seen tsa and law enforcement personnel act swiftly and bravely to protect passengers from a security threat at the checkpoint and i commend them all for that. i commend also the tsa and law enforcement personnel in new orleans as well as at airports across the country for their service and dedication to keeping the traveling public safe. over the last three years tsa has adopted a more common-sense risk-based approach to passenger screening through the implementation of its pre-check program. since its inception tsa pre-check has garnered a positive response from both passengers and transportation security industry stakeholders from moving away from a one size fits all approach to aviation
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security. tsa pre-check has fundamentally changed the way americans think about passenger screening and in a post-9/11 world and i believe it should continue to expand. however, in order to do so, this program must grow and mature in a manner that saves taxpayers dollars while also improving the experience of the traveling public and reducing security risks to aviation. growth in pre-check should not be at the expense of these core objectives and i'm concerned several initiatives related to expansion of tsa pre-check don't meet these criteria. one such initiative is the manage inclusion program which involves conducting a realtime threat assessment to identify passengers who are eligible for tsa pre-check on a flight by flight basis through the use of such tools as passenger screening canine teams explosives trace detection technology and behavior detection officers. while this program may help reduce wait times and increase
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utilization of tsa pre-check lanes, it has not been shown to improve the experience of travelers or reduce risks to aviation. on the contrary. passengers who go through tsa pre-check enrollment process and pay $85 for expedited screening are not seeing the benefits that were promised to them. this is largely due to the fact that passengers who did not enroll and are unfamiliar with tsa pre-check are being ushered into screening lanes through managed inclusion with little to know information about the expedited screening process. the experience for these travelers is at best confusing and at worst infuriating. when screeners act as though travelers who have been conditioned for over a decade to take their shoes and belts off should know to leave them on. in addition to confusing experience travelers face questions remain as to overall effectiveness of the program detecting threats. the government accountability
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office released a report in december, 2014 and found tsa failed to comprehensively test managed inclusions security effectiveness. rather thooes say tested the effectiveness of individual managed inclusion security layers but has not yet tested the security effectiveness of the overall manage inclusion process. tsa's failure to conduct such testing leaves out without an accurate assessment of the program's performance while tsa cited the random nature of the managed inclusion program as a positive, i believe that the benefits of this unpredictable program have not been shown to outweigh the risks. tsa should not operate managed inclusion if it doesn't address the issues i've just outlined. finally we've learned a convicted felon and former member of a domestic terror organization was allowed to use pre-check screening as part of tsa's risk assessment program. risk assessment determines eligibility by using algorithms
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built into tsa's secure light system and grants certain passengers pre-check status on a flight-by-flight basis. in this instance, we understand that even though the traveller document checker recognized the individual from media reports, a tsa supervisor allowed the passenger to proceed through pre-check screening. we must wary not to become come play sent at screening checkpoints. because of pre-check -- and it's important officers are empowered to use their better judgment in the screening process. fortunately, we all share the same goal, which is to protect the millions of passengers who use our nation's critical transportation systems everyday. with this in mind, the subcommittee looks forward to today's important dialogue on how to enhance risk-based security going forward. i would like to thank each of you for being here today and before we get to your statements, i want to introduce the ranking minority member of the subcommittee, the gentlewoman from new york miss rice, for any statements she may have. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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i want to thank you for convening this hearing first and foremost. before i begin, i want to take a moment to note a disturbing incident that occurred at louis armstrong international airport last friday when an individual assaulted multiple tsa officers with a wasp spray and a machete. it's a chilling reminder of the risks transportation security officers face every single day on the front lines of the effort to protect passengers and maintain the security of our nation's aviation sector. it is a difficult, dangerous and often thankless job but i want you to know i feel safe saying i speak for everyone up here that our thoughts and prayers and our gratitude are with you all. i also want you to know we are committed to developing solutions to enhance the security at our checkpoints for your safety as well as that of the passengers you protect. mr. chairman, i want to thank you for convening this important hearing today so that we can examine the tsa pre-check
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program. the tsa pre-check program as i understand it is one of tsa's risk-based initiatives aiming to maintain effective security while also maximizing efficiency. when the aviation and transportation security act became law it authorized tsa to establish requirements to implement trusted passenger programs and use available technologies to expedite the security screening of passengers who participate in such program. this allows the tsa to vet passengers on the front end through the pre-check application process. those passengers can go through expedited screening and tsa can focus on travelers who we know less about or suspect of criminal intent. i understand that more than within million people have voluntarily submitted their biographic information in order to participate in this traveler tram. that makes sense to me. that seems like an appropriate balance between effectiveness and efficiency.
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but i also understand that certain populations who have not undergone this vetting on the frontened are nonetheless sometimes permitted to use the expedited pre-check screening lanes. that doesn't make sense to me and that suggests to me the balance sometimes tips maybe too far towards efficiency and maybe at the expense of effective security but i'm looking forward to hearing the comments of all of the panelists. certainly that was the case when a convicted felon and former member of a domestic terrorist organization was permitted to use a pre-check lane as we learned from last week's report by the department of homeland security's office of inspector general. that kind of breach is simply inexcusable. of course it's beneficial to use pre-checks that we can concentrate our resources on passengers who are unknown to us and pose the highest potential risk but when a passenger such as this individual who was known to us and clearly posed enormous risk is given access to the pre-check lane it demands we take a hard look at the methods being used to calculate that risk. so that's why we're here today,
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to examine the risks of expanding pre-check beyond pre-vetted pre-approved passengers, to reassess the methodology used to assign a person to a given risk category and ensure we never allow the pursuit of efficiency to compromise security. i look forward to hearing from all of the witnesses here today. i also want you to know that we are working -- currently working with ranking member thompson on legislation that will be introduced and our hope is that the information we gather through today's hearing will better inform that measure. with that, mr. chairman i thank all of the witnesses for joining us today and yield back the balance of my time. i. >> thank you, miss rice. i want to now recognize ranking minority member of the full committee, the gentlemen from mississippi, mr. thompson, for any statement he may have. i want to note preliminarily that mr. thompson is a busy man and it's an honor and pleasure to have him here and i very much appreciate his input and
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guidance on this subject matter. so thank you very much. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, and thank you for holding today's hearing. i appreciate the subcommittee's willingness to take a hard look at the security vulnerabilities associated with how the transportation security administration is administering the pre-check program. as a frequent flier, i've long believed that tsa should have a trusted traveler program where individuals are identified as low-risk travelers and are provided by expedited airport screening. when tsa was established in 2001, congress granted 's the stay authority to establish a trusted traveler program. however, as many of you may recall, it took years for tsa to get over its initial reluctance about modifying its screening operations for vetted trusted travelers. former tsa administrator john pistol deserves great credit for
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recognizing the potential for a trusted traveler program and integrating the pre-check program into tsa's risk based airport screening operations. it just makes good sense to provide expedited screening who-to-passengers who have submitted biographical information and fingerprints to those who have been vetted. today there are one million known low-risk travelers in the pre-check program. that's a good start but given that about two million people fly everyday tsa needs to continue working to bring more americans into the pre-check program. that said, the focus of today's hearing is not on the vetted population that are legitimately low risk and receive expedited screening, it's on what's the say has called their realtime intelligence-based methods for identifying passengers on a
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trip-by-trip basis for expedited physical screening. the so-called managed inclusion program and the other real-time screening methods that tsa is currently employing at our nation's airports have not been scientifically validated as effective security approaches. further, as both the department's own inspector general and come trolptroller general have found, these approaches create security vulnerabilities. last week, the inspector genre leased a report about a very troubling incident involving a traveller who was granted enhanced security screening. suffice it to say, the terrorist and criminal history of the traveller involved should have resulted in tsa determining that enhanced security screening was in order, not an expedited screening. this is just one incident and i'm sure it would have never come to light if not for the
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courageous tsa employee who came forward to report it. commonly referred to as a whistle-blower. this incident begs the question. are these procedures appropriately designed to ensure that a person who actually presents a security risk is not given lighter screening? i have no confidence based on the public and classified information i have seen that this is the case. as such i believe that this situation demands legislative action. to this end, together with chairman katko and ranking member rice i'll be introducing legislation to address these known vulnerabilities regarding expedited screening. it's important there's not a permanent leader at tsa to address the security vulnerabilities that have come to light. i look forward to lookworking with the leadership of this
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subcommittee to bring our concerns to the attention of acting administrator mel carroway to get timely action to address the security vulnerabilities. with that, mr. chairman and ranking member i thank you for your prompt attention to this critical security matter and yield back. >> thank you, mr. thompson. other members of the committee are reminded that opening statements maybe submitted for the record. we are pleased to have a distinguished panel of witnesses before us today on this important topic. let me remind the witnesses that their entire written statements will appear in the record. our first witness, the honorable john roth, assumed the post of inspector general of the department of homeland security on march 10, 2014. previously mr. roth served as director of criminal investigations at the food and drug administration. prior to that, he had a long and distinguished career with the department of justice beginning in 1987 as assistant u.s. attorney for the eastern district of michigan. i'll note mr. roth had excellent
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on-the-job training at the narcotic and dangerous drug section doing very complex organized cases as did i. so welcome today mr. >> good afternoon. thank you for inviting me here today to testify about tsa's pre-check initiative. my public testimony will focus on the unclassified portions of our recent inspection reports. the majority of what we found is classified at the secret level or contain security information. i look forward to discussing the complete results in greater detail once we moved into the closed session. october 2011, tsa payiloted pre-checks at four artirports.
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congress also out lined to increase the number of passengers to 50% by the end of december 2014. to accomplish these goals tsa did the following. second it dieployed manage inclusion to get pre-check benefits. finally, it established the pre-check application program for membership. these akctions have resulted in massive increase. our audits assess the pre-check initiative to determine first what processes and procedures tsa uses to vet program a
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applicants properly. third, how tsa tests the process for effectiveness and timeliness. we determined that as a concept, pre-check is a positive step towards risk based security screening. the inspection will result of that are like wise ssi and delivered to the sub committee. we issued a letter report this month that found a notorious
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felon convicted of domestic terrorism crimes was granted pre-check as a result of tsa risk assessment rules. we reviewed the allegation after receiving information alleging the convicted felon wasn't properly cleared for pre-check screening. we're naturally concerned as evidence by the incident such rules are inadequate to ensure only low risk receive pre-check screening. we recommend they limit pre-check screening to tsa itself or other trusted government partners had determined members of trusted populations. we're concerned about tsa's response to our findings. this concludes my prepared statement. i welcome any questions that you or other members they have. >> thank you.
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i appreciate your input. thank you. we appreciate all of you being here. mr. fletcher is a chief risk officer. he's responsible for developing and driving the long range objectives with risk based security and risk managed activities. the chair now recognizes mr. fletcher to testify. >> thank you sir. good afternoon. for all aur law enforcement partners in train and responding to emergency situations prevented this incident from
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ending in tragedy. since its creation tsa has focused on building and enhancing a multi-layered security system which includes a well trained work force, state of the art technologies, intelligence analysis and afgs sharing, canine teams and federal air marshal service. for nearly a decade tsa applied these layers in a one size fits all approach. it started changing in late 2011. kper shl aviation remains target of terrorist groups who have
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prifen intelligent and adaptive as demonstrated. these devices remain one of the most serious threats to aviation. one way to address this threat is to implement increasing strict security requirements that have necessity become more invasive and cumbersome to travelers and to apply them broodly to every passenger and their baggage. the idea of a risk based approach aviation security is by no means novel. tsa founding legislation aviation and transportation security act mentions creating a trusted travel program. it adopt practical and cost effective means while balancing the security and civil
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liberties. concentrating on higher risk travelers while facilitating legitimate movement of those deemed to represent lower risk. effective risk management involves identifying, analyzing and commune indicating risk and decided whether to accept, avoid, transfer or control that risk to an acceptable level. for tsa effective risk managements considers how to provide the most effective security in the most efficient cay to enhance the value tsa provides to the american people as we fulfill our counter terrorism commission. perfection is unan tanable and the pursuit is unsustainable. risk management is not a new risk approach.
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it will create greater pressures. over the past 12 months tsa has sustained a daily average enrollment volume of nearly 3500 travellers, more than double our original protections. they are likely to enroll with an additional 21 million undecided. these 36 million travelers are our target market. the key to realizing this enromment potential is the continued clap ration with private sector partners across the travel and tourism industry. our partners are vital to implement risk based security. cooperation with and engagement
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was essential in helping tsa establish and expand the precheck program which now includes 11 airlines representing over 85% of domestic travelers. it's committed to fielding responsive, risk based solutions that can enhons our current security posture. thank you for the opportunity to testify today and for your interest and support of our risk based security initiatives. i look forward to your questions. thank you. >> i'm not sure if your timed that or not but you're just about a few seconds of being perfectly within five minutes. that's pretty good. that's really good. i want to make clear one thing. the pre-check program is the best example of what government thinking outside the box can accomplish. i commend tsa for that program
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and we're not here today to cast dispersions at the program. we're here to make sure we can, it's being properly implemented and it's still safe. that's what we're here to do. i thank you for being here today. our final witness serves as director of homeland security and justice issues at the governmental accountability office. mire to this position she was commission for the jao health care issues. the share now recognizes miss grover to testify. >> good afternoon.
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nearly after of u.s. aviation passengers received expedited screening because they were either enrolled in pre-check. they were selected for one kind of pre-checked based on the automated assessments or randomly assigned expedited screening through tsa's exclusion process. my remarks reflect the findings from the recently issued report on expedited screening. we support the move as a way to operate more efficiently and improve passenger experience. fr in some cases tsa conducts a background check to determine low risk status such as for pre-check applicants.
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they already had a similar assessment such as eligible members of customs and border protections and trusted traveler programs. in other cases, tsa enrolls passengers into precheck based on their affiliation with a specific group and who may not have had a background check. in contrast to the groups enrolled in pre-check, another group of passengers receives pre-check on a per flight, one time basis resulting from tsa's automated risk assessment. tsa uses information from the secure flight system to score each passenger on each flight based on a set of risk rules. the score determines the likelihood that passenger will receive pre-check for that trip. finally, another group of passengers are randomly selected for expedited screening at the
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airport. tsa recognizes the passengers are of unknown risk, not low risk. to use expedited screening with this population, tsa developed a realtime threat assessment based in part on behavior detection activities and explosive detection capabilities to identify and screen out high risk passengers. according to tsa the managed inclusin inclusion process results in a higher level of security. november 2013 behavior detection and analysis program we concluded that tsa has not demonstrated that bdo's which are their detection officers can identify passengers by observes passenger behaviors.
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in response this past february tsa has told us they developed revised behavior indicators. managed inclusion process is effective. tsa told us this testing is under way and is expected to be completed in mid 2016. we have previously reported on challenges tsa has faced designing studies in accordance with this accomplished method of standards. this is important because poorly designed studies do not produce reliable results. recommended that tsa ensure the managed inclusion testing.
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systematic evaluation of the process. if implemented appropriately this would address the intent of our recommendation and increase the likelihood that tsa's testing would produce reliable results about the effectiveness of the managed inclusion process. this concludes my statements. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you for your testimony. you heard from the testimony today so far management in inclusion is one of exceptions.
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the premise is that it allows tsa to better focus on the higher risk travelers by getting the ones that are lower risk. the fact remains that people aren't paying for that service. it's quicker access into the secure area of the airport. ive us a very basic reason that tsa went to management inclusion to start with. >> it's the super bowl in new
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orleans. we were anticipating significant crowds and wound up with significant crowds. i think they more than doubled their peak volume of passenger travel after the super bowl. the airport was recourse constrained and the challenge was how do you eliminate the risk of this large crowd of people being an attractive target. a lot of internal discussion and the idea of doing a realtime threat assessment on passengers is a combination of explosive detection screening with passenger screening canine teams would provide sufficient value to be able to provide those travelers with an expedited screening process. the question became is there way
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we can expand that concept to improve the fishts si at that time. we had very low volume of tsa pre-check passengers. i think today we're about 48 to 50%. we had a lot of inefficiencies in the process. way of managing weight times as well as improving the efficiency of the process. >> thank you. a couple of things here. i want to touch upon.
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you mentioned one of the things being resources and reducing the risk there's an attractive target by having a large crowd. >> yes, sir. >> if we expand the pre-check program to better marketing of it and it's growing on its own merit anyhow does that change for wanting to use management inclusion inclusion. >> it does. >> it does or does not? >> it does change it. we want to dramatically expand the application program. we believe -- >> so do we. >> as i indicated we believe the potential is up to 36 million travelers that could benefit. we're targeting the travelers that are taking three or four trips by air each year. we think that's a good value. the per screening experience for
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the expedited process that they go through is worth them spending the money. it is a challenge marketing and communications. it's not something that government does well in many instances. it is a marketing challenge. help us with our positioning and creative content. we've been broadly expanding our partnerships across the travel and tourism industry. my calculation is to sustain it with an entirely enrolled population we need 25 million americans enrolled in tsa pre-check. today combined with our existing low risk populations members of
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congress and et cetera, our own application programs and border protections, trusted traveler programs, we have about 6.5 million. we need to quadruple the number of individuals. that will take us a bit of time to do. that ultimately is our goal. we would like to be able to significantly dial back on both manage inclusion and risk assessments rules and replace that current volume with enrolled population. >> i know i'm a little over time but i want to follow up briefly on that. two things from a resource stand point i know that's one of genesis from the management inclusion program. is it fair to say there's a number of tsa employees who work on a part-time basis. >> i believe so. >> if you can address you know when high peak hours and high
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peak traffic will be isn't it possible for tsa to utilize employees to deal with high traffic areas and not resort to management inclusion? >> i think we're doing a credible job of managing those part-time resources. i cannot afford my experience when i was at the chicago o'hare international airport. it's difficult to work a 20 hour a week part-time employee, two hours in the morning to cover my a.m. peak and have them off and bring them back for two hours in the afternoon. that's an unreasonable human expectation for an employee that's working a part-time position. there is a balance and having them at the check point and the needs of the operation versus the needs of the individual.
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i believe we do a credible job. we, i believe we do a credible job today. i'm not sure there's a bunch more we can get in that regard. >> thank you very much. the chair recognizes ms. rice for five minutes for questions. >> thank you. mr. fletcher i'm going to direct my questions to you. you'd like to take the universe of people that go through pre-check lines. you'll like to decrease that number and increase the number of people that go through the process. can you tell us what that person is from person alyes to they aapproved.
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that provide proof of identity and citizenship. they provide their fingerprint. we do a security threat assessment against them for criminal disqualifiers and immigration. i think we say that will happen in two weeks. my understanding is it happens within days three or four days that the individual has been vetted and approved. we mail them their traveler number. they can go on a secure website and retrieve that electronically. it's a relatively pain less process, if you will.
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>> there's a list of criminal disqualifiers that are permanent. then there's a list of interim disqualifiers. a criminal conviction within seven years might be a disqualifier until that time frame had elapsed. sthoez would be permanent disqualifiers. i have a list. i can provide that. >> are there any obstacles that you encounter during this pre-check application process with getting relevant information from other agencies whether it be fbi, watch list,
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are there any impediments you have encounter? >> i don't think there's impediments with the way the process is designed. i believe there are opportunities to improve the process. we vet for the individual being added to terrorism database, but we don't continuely vet for criminal disqualifiers. we have been working closely with the fbi on a initiative that they have recently field the capability that will allow us to do that. we don't have the lead authority to do that today on our own accord. we're not a law enforcement agency. we can't run our own c checks as customs can do as investigating
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law enforcescement agency. we believe that's an important enhancement. >> that goes into my next question. do you have a plan in place, you've already answered this, for recuring vetting? it would have to qualify you as a law enforcements agency or what you're doing now in the fbi and partnering with another agency that would carry oit the recuring vetting? >> that's correct. >> and share the information with you? >> that's correct. that's not without cost. there's already a built in cost structure there.
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i don't think that's going to break the bank a recuring background check that the fbi could do. very quickly, because my time is almost up. recently there was a report that since 2007 when the training for bdo, behavioral detection officers, was put in place there were approximately 30000 people that were pulled out of the line based on observations of the behavioral detection officer. it's further understood that of those 30000 people that were taken out of line of that universe, less than 1% of them actually had an instance where it resulted in an arrest. my question is do you think the training for the bdo is sufficient given that kind of data that maybe they are not looking at the right things and maybe missing people who truly
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do represent a danger? >> i'll say that the recommendations over the last several years from the gao and the inspector general have been very helpful in us revamping our program. each of the revised edd indicators we're in process of doing an evaluation of those new indicators. we have completely revamped the training program for the bdos over the last several years. if i go back to 2007 i would absolutely agree with your position but i believe we have taken significant strides. my understanding is that with the exception of two recommendations, one that we defund the program and the other the most recent one about taking
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a holistic view of management in inclusion that all the recommendations have been closed. >> that was not an attack question at all. >> i understand that. >> you have to review it to see if it's actually achieving the stated goals. i appreciate your openness and willness to take recommendations. i don't think it has to be scrapped but i appreciate you're willing to take the recommendations how to be better. thank you. >> if i can add we have established a coalition with private sector privacy groups that sign a non-disclosure agreement that allow them to gain access to information that will help us inform the program and make sure we're achieveing the right balance of an
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essential layer. >> thank you. >> thank you. the chair now recognizes the ranking minority member mr. thompson for questions. >> thank you very much. i want to sit on the panels today. >> so approved. >> in the management inclusion program and more specifically bdos, how many do we have in the bdo program? how many bdos? >> i don't have that exact number. i know we have about 11% fewer than two years ago. i believe it's around 3100 total across the system but i don't
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have the exact number. >> you talked about a process and are you aware of any scientific data that say that the bdo program is successful? >> i'm aware tsa has taken another look at the literature that's underlying each of the indicators that they are using. they are the process of testing the use of the new i understandndicators and the rules for using them. we're awaiting the results of
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those tests to see what tsa learns about how they are being applied in practice. you're >> you're not aware of any data that says it works? >> i have not reviewed evidence demonstrating the behavioral indicators are working in practice as they intend. >> let me go on the record, mr. chairman and ranking member, i support the pre-check program too, but i want it to have sound science behind it. and say you get into the
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pre-check line. i think part of why we're having this hearing is to make sure those individuals, there's some science behind getting them there as well as some vetting. more specifically we talk and about this whistle blower who said they saw and knew someone in line that was a domestic terrorist, had a conviction, went to jail. can you provide me with whether or not there is authority in tso, sees an individual of that description that they have authority to say you need to go
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back for further vetting for enhanced screening. >> i believe we started training our tsos in critical thinking skills in response to the i.g.'s investigation. we reiterated that and are reviewing our standard operating procedure. >> you want to comment? >> when we engaged in this inquiry after receiving the whistle blower complaint, the tso did not feel empowered to make that decision on his or her own self. my understanding is our recommendations to tsa were to clarify exactly what authority the tso has.
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the soouchupervisor ordered that person to go through the pre-check lane. >> basically, we let a domestic terrorist get on lane that if that person had applied through pre-check that person would have have -- if that person applied through regular pre-check program, what would their status have been? >> they had certainly disqualifying offenses that would have prohibited them from being a member of pre-check. >> can you share with the committee what orientation tsos
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are going through now so they do feel empowered and when those situations exist they can stop it at that point. >> immediately the head of our office security administration issued guidance to the field that clarify edied and reenforced skills that had been built over the several years. we are in the process of reviewing our standard operating procedures to make sure any
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language is clear what our intent is so the tso doesn't feel lack of empowerment to exercise that discretion. it's one of the key to aviation security is the individual tso to use their experience in judgment and exercise some level of individualized discretion. >> what i think traveling public feels that some system of vetting has occurred for every person who is on that plane. i think to whatever extent we can provide that, we should. i would encourage you to look at what you're doing so that the end result is that there are no anomalies in the system that would allow someone wp an orve criminal report that would have been disqualified is on that plane without the knowledge of
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the people who are traveling. identified as inhibts and now lotted to fly dez natssignated for enhanced screening. in this specific instance this individual is not, was not and is not in the national terror screening database.
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we have to have confidence if there's a domestic terror suspect that they have been appropriately identified and watch listed. that's the glitch in the system. if they were watch listed they would not have been eligible for expedited screening. >> after we exhausted questions from each of the sub committee members we will allow ms. jackson lee five minutes for questions.
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the their recognizes mr. rogers. >> thank you. i want to talk about this management inclusion program. what was the object i for when y'all set that up. what are you trying to accomplish with this? >> one objective was to improve the efficiency of the tsa lane. reduceing that risk that becomes the attractive target for a terror attack. >> did tsa conduct analysis on the entire screening process which is reduceing it to pre-check vetting by the flip of a coin. >> i don't believe it's pre-check vetting by a flip of
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the coin. >> we believe and as we looked at the individual component parts and management inclusion total as a system we believe it provides a better security proposition. it's more effective screening based on the analysis that we have done to date. >> maybe i'm confused. my understanding the way management inclusion works is you got somebody with an ipad that taps it and it randomly sends somebody to the pre-check line that's not gone through the application and screening process that the people who paid to be in the pre-check line went through, is that not correct? >> that's part of it.
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they didn't go through the vetting process that the people in the pre-check line paid to go through. >> they are exposed at a significantly higher rate to exclosive screening, 100% of the passengers, if we're using passenger screening canine teams. a significant percentage of passengers that are etd screened prior to that random selection process at travel document check position. >> how do you think folks about individuals who didn't pay for it and didn't go through the
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vetting get in line with them? >> i've heard negative complaints from the traveling public about the inclusion process part of our desire to dial these tools back so they become a significantly less kribts contributor and replace them with an enrolled population is both because of the pushback that we have gotten in some instances and it moves the passenger, provide a lower risk proposition than somebody who does go through manage inclusion or through risk assessment rules. if we had enough of those assets so they weren't in all these lines, i wouldn't have a problem. as you know we have very limited numbers of those canine
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teams and not because i hasn't been trying change it and i intend to get a lot more of them before i leave this place, but currently we don't have anywhere close to enough of them. in my opinion this managed inclusion program is a wreckless practice to take people who have not been to the proper vetting and put them into a lane that requires a lower level of screening because the people in that lane have paid to be vetted through a system that makes them less of a risk. i hope that y'all will rethink this program because it is wreckless. i think the public would view it dimly if they knew more about it. >> yes, sir. >> with that i'll yield back. >> thank you. i appreciate it. ms. jackson lee i believe you're next up.
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>> thank you for your leadership. let me also thank the witnesses for their service. the representative from the geo are constantly providing us a flashlight to be able to ensure and to correct and to keep the american people secure. the thousands upon thousands of tso officers that put their life on the line in the nation's airport to save our lives. i want them to know how much i appreciate them. i want to acknowledge the shooting and loss of life of tso officer in los angeles. we went out to los angeles last session.
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my colleague should hear my point. this is team effort when we talk about securing airport. i'm constantly frustrated. i understand local government. i believe this will require a federal engagement and setting protocols. the first news report came out that it was a tso officer. you might have heard it that shot the perpetrator in new orleans who had a machete and something else endangering the
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lives of passenger and not understanding their intent. it was the brave acts of a local law enforcement. i believe and will be raising this question of the protocols to be established in airports across america. there's not enough coverage and the airport management they save money, the city saved money by not having the appropriate law enforcement present. let me ask the question to mr. fletcher. are your tsos armed? >> no they are not. >> approximately, how much do we
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have across america? >> i believe about 48,000. >> let me thank you for that. i'm much happier and feel much safer in spite of some of these downfalls than i was pre- 9/11. i appreciate that. they're not armed but they are monitoring some of the world's largest airports, is that not correct? >> that is correct. >> we, i believe without giving any classified information still one of the more attractive targets of terrorisms arets a airport airlines and modes of transportation. is that fair assessment? >> it is. >> we have tsos. we don't have any consistent understanding of what the armed presence is. when i use the world armed, i want to be careful to make sure i'm talking about local law enforcement and not military. let me jump to this point of the situation going with the tso
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that knew there was a person that kwaz convicted of domestic terrorism. what was the basis of the supervisor coming through and saying it's all right. let him go through? >> i don't have the answer to that. >> i would make this point training has to be crucial. if the tso had the authority, you seem to suggest that person did, they didn't use it. then you have a training program. one in terms of the tso's knowledge of what their opportunities and obligations and authority is. is it in the report as to why the supervisor if you will, allow the person to go forward? any one. >> the tsa has a rule that the
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tsos may increase the level ov screening a passenger receives. >> let me finish because my colleagues have been generous in their time. we have a double issue of the check point. a person may need to be stopped and may be agitated. i'm not suggesting a pouncing of law enforcement on our travelers. let me be clear. i am suggesting inging we need to protect our tso officers. we've had one too many incidents. if the reports are accurate and you announced this report the number of guns that are stopped at the security check points are more than we might imagine. that's something else we need to compliment the issues of training. the other thing i'd like to
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offer is i've introduced the no fly foreign fighters legislation which are appropriately be in the committee. i'd like to have that bill presented to the chairman and ranking member of this committee to give you extra help on a list that's extremely screened or scrubbed to make sure that you have the most current individuals on that no-fly list, particularly those foreign fighters. i hope that the agency will review my legislation because i'm looking for tools that will help tso officers do their job. i think there are two elements of weaknesses. one when a tso attempted to do the right thing and the supervisor pushed them on and then the issue of security around the pa rim ter. i thank you very much. just get this in writing i
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understand this we moved to expand tso pre-check and a paid process. you allowed people to pay for that and i would like to get a report on whether or not our vets vetting is extensive on the paved process. i yield back. >> thank you for being here and showing an interest in the sub committee's work and for your thoughtful comments and input. the chair recognizes mr. radcliff for five minutes of questioning. >> thank you, mr. chairman. very much believe in the mission of the tsa and believe and i'm grateful for the testimony of the witnesses today to inform the opinions of this sub
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subcommittee. i'm also someone that goes through our airports through the tsa pre-check program. i'm very familiar with that. based on the testimony i was able to review, the one thing i am concerned about is some of the tsa's more flexible programs that allow for realtime assessments of potential risks as opposed to the tsa pre-check which allows travelers like me who qualify and submit to a background check to get through more expeditiously. i know you commented on that in your march 16th report and talked about the incident involving a convicted felon who was improperly cleared under one of these more flexible programs. let me start there.
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they go through a more rigorous procedure to gain the benefits of the program and what it offers. >> we've talked a bit about manage inclusion. we believe it has security value. we haven't spent a lot of time talking about risk assessment. in response to your question, risk assessment, one of the unlying principals behind the approach is that the vast majority of americans simply want to get from their destination to their destination as quickly as efficiently as possible and represent essentially no threat to aviation.
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our bias has been identifying ways to expedite the flow of legitimate travelers in reducing that burden. there's balance that we have tried to take through a measured approach that we tried to take through all of our programs. we look at initiative like manage inclusion and look at an initiative like risk assessment rules. we consider the security effectiveness of the proposition, we consider the operational efficiency impacts. we look at the impact on what the passenger is. we look at the impact on industry and then we consider the fiscal implications and policy implications. is this the right public policy for the agency to adopt. is it going to be politically acceptable by you? is it going to be politically palatable to the american people? we take a thoughtful approach to
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that. the underlying basis of our rule s the age gender and ienformation today that we have been collecting. we started that at the very beginning of the program with the smallest slice of frequent flyers that we extended eligibility for. that's not the only review that we've done. we had an independent analysis of that approach that was completed by one of the federally funded research and development corporations in 2012. in 2013 we worked closely with the civil aviation threat working group. these are intelligent analysts. we've had a review in 2014 by the homeland security studies and analysis institute.
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there is all of those independent reviews have validated the fundamental principals behind that. they have identified some opportunities for improvement as has the inspector general and as has gao. we believe very strongly that the independent reviews provide a good security and a good value proposition for the american people. we have taken a thoughtful and measured approach to both of those programs. much more so on risk assessment rules than perhaps we have on managing inclusion because we haven't done as much of the external independent validation on that initiative. >> thank you. i see that my time is expired. i would love to ask a question of inspector general but i'll yield back. >> thank you. we're going to have a brief second round of questions. you'll have an opportunity to ask follow ups in a moment.
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i now recognize myself for some follow up questions. i apologize for this rapid fire but these are questions i was hoping someone will ask. since they didn't, i'll follow up with them. the convicted felon issue just so i'm clear, the convict felon that was cleared, is there any doubt -- let me rephrase. were they in error when they cleared the convicted felon? >> i believe the error was if they presented a risk to aviation then they should have been appropriately watch listed as a domestic terror subject in the terror screening database. >> okay. this person would not have passed the pre-check status, correct? >> would not have been accepted through the application enrollment program yes, sir. >> it becomes self-evident that the risk assessment approach and
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manage inclusion approach aren't as thorough and good as doing the pre-check background check? >> i would agree with that, yes standpoint and pre-check -- part of it is indeed marketing. fair to say, is it not that pre-check -- when someone's paid for pre-check and paid for a product and seeing people taken out of other lines, haven't paid for the product, going into the line sometimes ahead of them, that's not good marketing from a purely marketing standpoint? >> i look at it as a free sample that you would get. and we know from interviewing travelers that many of them that have had the opportunity to experience it have subsequently applied and enrolled in the program. so there is some benefit. it's not all negative. >> that's a fair point. let's face it, though, for the
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people who pay for the program, it is a negative. >> there are negative sentiments when i paid my money and others are getting it for free, yes, sir. >> i want to ask this question of you, last two times i've been at kennedy airport and i'm trying to get home and there's a long line and no pre-check line open. how come pre-check isn't always open? >> it's a matter of resource efficiency. there are times of day at large airports and many more times at small airports where we simply don't have the passenger volume, where we're not running manage inclusion operations where we can't sustain the -- the dedicated tsa pre-check lane. we gave the federal security directors the flexibility to shift standard screening lanes to expedited screening lanes and
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convert them back to standard screening lanes. so we're trying to be good stewards of the resources we have available to us. but in many of those instances, we just simply don't have the volume to sustain the expedited screening lane as a dedicated proposition. >> okay. mr. roth, mr. grover, i haven't forgot about you. you'll be actively participating in the closed portion of this hearing, trust me. ms. rice asked very good questions about recurrent vetting and mr. fletcher talked about the cost associated with that. do you have any idea how costly it would be to do recurrent vetting? >> i don't have that answer for you, congressman. >> no, sir, but that is a potential vulnerability that we've identified in our previous reports also. the importance of recurrent
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vetting. >> i think -- i'm very trained in asking questions and not pontificating, because for 20 years, judges would kill me if i did that. i would tell you that it's an important and serious issue. i would ask mr. roth or ms. grover direct us to the appropriate entity that can give us an idea what that cost might be. i think that's an important factor to enter into these things. as this program majeures, and more time gets -- takes place between when they are initially vetted and up to the present time i think that more opportunity for people to go bad, if you will. and recurrent vetting might catch that. and also, mr. fletcher, as long as we're on the subject briefly, is it fair to say that there's a
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science to developing with algorithms that can be designed that might be able to do some of this recurrent vetting absent a criminal history check on a regular basis without a lot of cost once the algorithm has been established. >> we've been working with several private sector companies. and the science and technology director on evaluating risk algorithms that are not necessarily directly related to crime facility. we do believe from my personal executions with the national association of professional background screeners and discussions with some private sector data brokers that they can do an effective job of identifying criminality without having to go through the traditional check. >> thank you. couple more quick questions then
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we can wrap up with this portion of the testimony. straightforward question here. on december 22nd of 2014 there was a request for proposal issued for tsa pre-check application expansions. rfp sought private sector application capabilities to expand to public's enrollment access to pre-check. solicitation was taken down february 7th of 2015. and the question i ask is why? >> there was -- there was at least one provision mr. chairman, in there that should not have gone out in the original solicitation that we were concerned about. we are currently working with the department to go through that entire rfp to make sure we get it right. i believe that that's our best opportunity to shut down dial back on manage inclusion and risk assessment rules is third party, but we have to get it right in the first instance. >> do you have any idea what the
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time frame is before it's back up and running? >> i believe the testimony last week indicated perhaps as early as the end of this week or next. i'm hoping it will be soon. >> excellent. the last question i wanted -- series of questions about marketing and enrollment for pre-check. i've talked to airport operators and they have expressed a strong interest in providing kiosks even at their own costs, people can sign up for pre-check at their airports. they've also offered space in the airports to do the follow-up vetting from a pre-check at their facilities. and to me, that sounds like no-brainers. we have every single airport in the country should have the option of having one of those kiosks to sign up. i would envision would be -- where they come in, sign up,
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somebody's manning the kiosk. they pay the key, fill out the form, it goes to tsa and they do their work. what do you think about that? >> i think those are options. we're hoping innovation solutions in response to the rfp when we get that reposted. right now, our exclusive contract, it's really the relationship between the airport and our contractor that manages the existing enrollment application. many airports have been very generous with space. some of our major airlines have leased space to facilitate the enrollment process. other airports have been resistant and are waiting for opportunities to be more directly involved as they have reviewed our proposals. >> just so we're clear, though, you're saying you have a contract with a vendor that is kind of preventing you from developing this program further? >> right now, the application
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program that exists today is through a single vendor that runs all of our vetting application programs. the intent of third party, the rfp is to broadly expand that to take advantage of those other opportunities you discussed and we're not there yet. >> is there anything in that contract with that vendor that prevent these airports from opening these kiosks and collecting these applications? >> we actually had that discussion this morning about what changes to the contract that we can make to i'll say loosen some of the contractual restrictions or provide more latitude for the contractor to move forward. today, there's nothing preventing an airport from entering into an agreement with them. 5 35 or more already have. >> i want to also note that from a convenience standpoint for passengers, the pre-check is not exactly where it should be. i'll give you an example.
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my understanding from the pre-check process in syracuse is that if you want to get screened you have to drive to oswego new york to get the interview. to me, that is wildly inconvenient and i would like to see a process whereby passengers can get the follow-up interviews at the airports. because the idea is if you have -- if you have frequent travelers and those are the ones you want to target for pre-check, and there's millions in this country, why not make it as absolutely convenient and user-friendly as possible. they can sign up at the airport do the interview at the airport. that makes much more sense than driving 45 minutes to an hour north in oswego. it's not always a good idea to drive up there. so -- i just want to let you know we're going to be looking into that as well. >> yes, sir.
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>> okay. do you have any questions? >> the rest of my questions are going to be at our closed door session if that's okay. >> i ask unanimous consent that the remainder of the hearing be closed to public of the rules of the house because disclosure of such testimony, evidence, or other matters would endanger national security or compromise sensitive law enforcement information. any objection to the motion to close the hearing? hearing none the motion is agreed to and the subcommittee will move to a secure location to continue its business.


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